Algebra Middle School Technology

Desmos Online Graphing Calculator

Recently, I have been noodling around with the Desmos Online Graphing Calculator.  I have used Texas Instruments products exclusively and extensively in my classes for years, but am always on the lookout for tools that are easy to use, functional, and (most importantly) cheap!  The Desmos calculator aligns quite nicely with my personal motto, “If It’s For Free, Then It’s For me!”

The calculator has an interface which is intuitive, and it’s easy to dive right in and start graphing:


Inequalities can also be graphed easily and nicely:


Trig functions are formatted in readable form as you type them, and you can choose to have the x-axis “count by pi”, which is a pretty cool feature:


Points can be traced.  Check out how the minimum here is communicated with appropriate symbols:


Yep, we can do piece-wise functions too:


What appeals to me about this calculator is that it is web-based, fires up quickly, and is ready to use.  This site should be on everyone’s links for students, shared on Edmodo, or whatever resources page you use.  While I love my TI software, it often takes too long to load, and you need to be a real Nspire user to navigate around.  The site is also usable with Ipads:

Horsham-20120502-00199, Uploaded by Photobucket Mobile for BlackBerry

But keep in mind that this is a stripped down calculator.  It graphs stuff, and that’s about it.  You’ll still need your TI’s to perform calculations, analyze data, or do more in-depth analysis, like intercepts or integrals.

Sometimes, less bells and whistles are better.

EDIT: check out the comments for news from Eli, founder of Desmos, who gives some more great information about this tool!